Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase can scheme with and against the best, and NFL teams searching for their next head coach will come calling next week because of it.
“He deserves it,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “Whether it’s Tim Tebow or Peyton [Manning] or myself or Kyle Orton — whomever he’s worked with — he’s found ways to manage the system and make them successful.”
But as the Bears learned through Marc Trestman’s turbulent wo-year run, it takes more than an offensive mind to be a successful head coach.
The Eagles just learned that lesson with Chip Kelly, who was fired after three seasons partly because he lacked “emotional intelligence” with his players, owner Jeffery Lurie said.
Taking over a team in need of a revival takes much more. There are intangible characteristics that can’t be found on stat sheets or explained through the X’s and O’s on a dry erase board.
Gase knows that, especially after being interviewed last year by a few teams, including the Bears. He’s learned it from the master of the reclamation project – Bears coach John Fox – in Denver in 2011 and at Halas Hall this season.
“I’ve got to see [Fox] go through the whole change, us changing teams and how these guys would take into his philosophy,” Gase said in an interview with the Sun-Times. “That’s been a great experience just to witness how he went about putting this thing together. You can see the strides that we’ve made in the year.”
What has he learned?
“One of the things that you always know is that it’s a people’s business,” Gase said. “It’s about the players. It’s about the people around the building.”
Gase’s meetings are described as energetic — “You sense his passion,” guard Matt Slauson said – and his explanations detailed.
“He’s all about accountability,” Slauson said. “He expects guys to do what they’re supposed to do. He holds guys to a very high standard.
“As offensive linemen, we’ve got to be on the correct guys using the correct technique. He’s always hammering that home all the time. He doesn’t let anything slide.”
But there is a “working relationship,” receiver Marc Mariani said. A dialogue exists with players, particularly with quarterback Jay Cutler, who has a career-best 92.8 passer rating.
“That’s what has made him successful in the coaching business,” Mariani said. “He commands the room, but he engages his players and he has great relationships with all of us.”
It’s a feeling that extends to the other side of the ball, too.
“I know he’d be really good head coach just because of how gets along with players not only on the offensive side, but also on the defensive side,” said defensive lineman Mitch Unrein, who was with Fox and Gase for four seasons in Denver.
“[Gase is] a very personable guy. He goes up and talks to everyone on the team. You need that as a head coach. You need that ability to have the respect of the players, but also have that close-knit team where somebody doesn’t feel where you’re too big where they can’t come and talk to you.”
Players say the same thing about Fox.
“And not every coach has that,” Unrein said. “It’s a very good attribute to have to really bring a team together.”
Gase knows the Bears’ 5-9 record is unimpressive, that positives look scarce. But he feels that better days are coming because the club’s identity has been transformed, similar to the Broncos’ makeover in 2011.
“[It’s] that expectation of we’re getting better and you can see and feel that we’re all on the upward swing,” Gase said. “He creates that everyday whether it’s in our team meetings or at practice. That energy, attitude and swagger that he has of, ‘We need to expect to get to the playoffs and then win when you get there.’ You can sense that sense of urgency that he brings. It’s carried over to the players.
“Going forward, I’ve seen him do it. Guys just expect it to happen, and then it does happen.”
If Gase gets his own team to run this offseason, he’ll be expected to do the same.
“He’s going to be good,” Cutler said. “If he gets that shot, I’m excited for him.”
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